Make Ahead

The DC Food52 Seat of Our Pants Rhubarb Preserves

May 31, 2011
2 Ratings
  • Makes 16 half-pints
Author Notes

The DC Food52'ers hive mind concocted this preserves. After making a preserves, a pickle, and a chutney, we decided to wing it and make one last preserve. Credit where credit is due - the recipe was prompted by Bonnie Benwick's sorrel blackberry syrup. From there SallyCan thought to add some zest. Linda harvested some lemon verbena from the garden. And a preserves was born. Thanks, A&M for the get together prompt. Photo by Julia Rochelle. —MrsWheelbarrow

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups blackberries
  • 12 large sorrel leaves, red leaved was used, but green would work.
  • 10 cups diced rhubarb
  • 5 cups strawberries, hulled and left whole if small, otherwise quartered
  • Juice of three lemons
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Large sprig of lemon verbena (about 12 leaves and some flowers)
  • 6 teaspoons Calcium water (included w/Pomono pectin)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 teaspoons Pomona Pectin
  1. Make a simple syrup by bringing the water and 2 cups of sugar to a boil. Add the blackberries and sorrel leaves and crush well. Allow the mixture to steep for 30 minutes, then strain. You should have about 24 oz. of syrup.
  2. In a large preserving pan, mix together the rhubarb, berries, lemon juice and zest, lemon verbena.
  3. Stir in the syrup. Stir in the calcium water.
  4. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring all the while.
  5. Whisk together the Pomona pectin and the sugar.
  6. When the preserves are at a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, add the sugar and pectin all at once.
  7. Stir well and continually for five minutes, bringing the mixture back to a full rolling boil.
  8. Most of the foam will have subsided when the jam is ready. It will look clear and shiny, and will form wrinkles on the surface after cooling for a minute or two. Use the frozen plate trick to check the set.
  9. To banish every speck of foam, add small pinches of butter. We added about 1 teaspoon spread out over three additions.
  10. Ladle into 1/2 pint jars. Wipe the rims and place sterilized lids and rings.
  11. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sagegreen
  • aargersi
  • MrsWheelbarrow
  • AntoniaJames
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7 Reviews

Sagegreen May 31, 2011
Thanks for sharing the anatomy of this wonderful recipe! You must have had a wonderful time working together. Lately, I have been happy creating small batches of refrigerator preserves, but you inspire us to do real canning! Love the low sugar.
MrsWheelbarrow May 31, 2011
I usually make batches of 4-6 1/2pints. Without the fabulous talents of the rest of the group who were gathered I would never attempt something this big!
aargersi May 31, 2011
Thanks for the info both - so I use the no sugar needed Ball pectin which sounds similar but it doesn't have calcium stuff ... I will look for the pomona kind - they are supposed to be opening a WF close to my house soon ...
MrsWheelbarrow May 31, 2011
The no-sugar pectins often add apple or white grape juice and I don't necessarily want that flavor in my jam. That's what's nice about Pomona - use very little sugar, or even substitute honey and all fruit.
MrsWheelbarrow May 31, 2011
Hi Aargersi - It's really tasty preserves.! I recently did a blog post about pomona pectin

Essentially Pomona pectin allows you to preserve fruit using far less sugar while still getting a good set.
aargersi May 31, 2011
Yum! OK explain pomona pectin please! This sounds fantastic!
AntoniaJames May 31, 2011
It's a brand of pectin (the only kind I use . . . and I've been using it for 20 years) that allows you to use very small amounts of sugar, or honey, to sweeten, if you like. It has a two part system, involving a calcium water solution that's used during the cooking process. I buy it at Whole Foods, which is where I discovered it those many years ago. ;o)